Tag Archives: love

Happy Anniversary – Friday Fictioneers


Okay, I’m trying my hand at Friday Fictioneers.  This is a first for me, and I’m a little nervous.  And I think my story is sort of lame.  But it was really fun doing it and a great brain exercise.  So, what the hell – jump in with both feet, right?

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY – Word Count 100

Photo courtesy of David Stewart

Photo courtesy of David Stewart

A line of hungry tourists snaked out of Wilson’s door.

“I know it’s our anniversary, but do we have to get ice cream?” asked Dave.

“Yes! It’s tradition! We can listen to the band while we wait.” Sue smiled. “Aw! They’re playing “I Love You Truly”! My grandpa always sang that with my grandma.”

“Like them?” Dave pointed to an elderly couple harmonizing by the pavilion.

“Yes, exactly like….” Sue stared, her mouth dropping.

The older couple looked back at them, smiling. The woman blew a kiss as they faded with the music.

“You have a weird family,” said Dave.

You Are My Sunshine…


You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine.

You make me happy,

When skies are gray!

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you,

Please don’t take

my sunshine away.

De Pere, WI

I know I promised you all a story today, but I could not resist Cee’s photo challenge this week, as her theme is the chorus from the song, ‘You Are My Sunshine”.

If our family has a ‘song’, this would surely be it.

It’s not like we were the Von Trapp Family Singers or anything.  My mom is seriously the only one who can carry a tune.  The rest of us attract packs of howling dogs and villagers with torches and pitchforks.

But this song – we all sing.  Loudly with gusto and false vibrato, like drunks in a bar, consequences be damned.

We sang it often when I was growing up, my dad especially. He is tone-deaf, and sings everything in pretty much the same monotone bass – except this one, because he always sings it with love.

He sang it to my mom.  He sang it to us kids.  We sang it back.

My favorite memory is of all of us singing it together in the old blue station wagon on the way to the lake.  This was back when kids didn’t need to be in seat belts, and my older sisters were sitting in the back seat, and my brother and I were in what was known as the “way back”.  We were flying down Pines Road – the last paved road before getting to the cottage – and we were pretty jacked up.

“YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE! MY ONLY SUNSHINE…”

Now, Pines Road had a few small hills in it and was famous for one in particular.  The Belly Catcher.

“YOU MAKE ME HAPPY, WHEN SKIES ARE GRAY…”

We hit the belly-catcher hill at top speed, my sisters’ butts lifting off their seats with the g-force and my brother and I airborne in the back”

“YOU NEVER KN-

“…ooooOOOOOOOOOOOoooo!!!”

“..DEAR, HOW MUCH I LOVED YOU, PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY SUNSHINE AWAY!”

We grew up and moved away but the singing didn’t stop.  We sang it in our own families, with our own children.  And now they sing it to theirs.  But no matter which of us is singing, my heart always hears it in my dad’s growly bass.

So here, in honor of my dad, my mom and the rest of my family, is my interpretation of “You are my sunshine”, in photographs:

Newlyweds!

You are my sunshine…

My only sunshine...

My only sunshine…

You make me happy...

You make me happy…

When skies are gray...

When skies are gray…

You'll never know dear...

You’ll never know dear…

How much I love you...

How much I love you…

Please don't take my sunshine away.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.

For more fun entries, visit Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!

Keep singing!
Sue

All Her Bags Are Packed


All her bags are packed,

She’s ready to go.

I want to tell my sister “no”

I can’t stand the thought of

saying goodbye.

 

She’s leaving the place

where she was born

Arizona is waitin’

it’s blowin’ its horn

Already we’re so lonesome

we could cry.

 

My sister is moving to Arizona, and my first intention with today’s post was to completely re-write Leaving On A Jet Plane but that was too cheesy even for me.  And ya’ll know I can handle a lot of cheese.

Instead, I just decided to be frank with you.  Well, to be “Sue” actually.  Not “Frank”. HA!  See, I’m so sad, all the Belgian is leaking out of me.  You know – making stupid jokes.  That obviously have to be explained.  Because nobody else gets them, probably not even other Belgians.  Except my family, and I guess that’s the point.

We get each other.  We share ancient history, DNA, good times, and bad jokes.  My sister is moving and my heart is broken.

I understand families move all the time.  Sisters, brothers, parents, children – all move miles away from each other.  Hell, we wouldn’t even be here if Arnold VerStagen hadn’t traveled from Holland to settle in Little Chute, Wisconsin way back in 1850.  It took him two months, mostly by boat.  Now that’s a long damn drive.

And I know she wouldn’t be moving if it wasn’t right for her.  She’s not willy-nilly, my sister.  But I just need to be selfish for one paragraph.

I don’t want her to go.  She taught me how to sway my babies and how to spend oodles of money on beads.  She brought me to Bjorklunden where I found a piece of my heart I didn’t know was missing, and she believed in me when I told her I sat and talked with Jesus on a rock on the beach.  And it is entirely her fault that I have two high maintenance yorkie-poos that poop on my carpet.  And she’s my sister.  And my friend.  And I love her.  And I’m going to miss her like crazy.

There.  My selfishness is done.  Follow your heart, and go with all my blessings and love, Celeste.  Do yoga in the sun and dance with Myra in the kitchen and drink coffee with Hugh on the deck.  Call often and send us pictures of bare toasty toes while we shovel snow.  Expect a busload of frost-bitten family members soon after.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Love,

Sue

PS. Arizona – just a heads up – we’re sending you one of our greatest jewels.  You best take care of her.

She’s leavin’

on a jet plane

Don’t know when she’ll

be back again

But probably Christmas….

 

Matching blue sweaters.  Coincidence or weird sister thing?  You decide.

Matching blue sweaters. Coincidence or weird sister thing? You decide.

 

The Jesus Rock - Shores of Lake Michigan near Bjorklunden

The Jesus Rock – Shores of Lake Michigan near Bjorklunden

PPSS:  As blue as my heart is, this is also my contribution to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge:  Blue

Not Ready For Prime Time Word Clouds


Doreen-2Today’s blog might be boring for some of you, seeing as it’s mostly about my friend, Doreen. She seems to think that I don’t talk about her enough in my blog (most people are trying to stay OUT of my blog), so as a joke I was going to do a “word cloud” with just her name, and then do my normal post. Well, normal for me. Meaning not very normal.

But, I had to test several different word cloud applications before I found one that A) wasn’t too complicated and B) got me the results I wanted.

Then, there was choosing all the descriptive words and phrases. You would think this would be easy, seeing as I have been friends with her for 15 years, but it was surprisingly hard, especially when I knew her family often reads my blog. I mean, I didn’t want them reading “dried up hoo-hah” and have that create a lot of uncomfortable questions. Of course, “dried up hoo-hah” in itself is a pretty uncomfortable condition and actually HAS been a subject of conversation, but not necessarily pertaining to Doreen. Therefore you will NOT see this group of words in her word cloud. So family – DON’T ASK HER ABOUT IT.

Long story short, creating the perfect word cloud took a long fricken time, and I ran out of days to put together any sort of post more provocative and thoughtful than “dried up hoo-hah”.

For those of you still reading and who might be interested, I used tagul.com to create my word cloud. I really really really really like this application. It’s so easy an Old Bag can use it, plus it has some added features for the younger, more advanced tech savvy crowd (you know, those of you without dried up hoo-hahs) – such as uploading your own shape. Uploading your own shape is really easy – you can use any photo – but the fewer colors and more sharply defined the better. I found silhouette pictures to work best. If you don’t know how to make your own, just search for them on the web. There are a ton of free silhouette clip art shapes out there.

Besides Doreen’s main one, see below for a few extra’s that I did so you can see the range of options you have with this application. You do have to register to use the site, but the majority of it is still free, and I had so much fun with this I am for sure going to use it again.

As an added bonus, you can use word clouds as puzzles.  Can you find all of the words/phrases that I used in Doreen’s cloud? There are at least 45 – possibly more.  I added more since I last counted, so I’m not sure.  Also, if you run across one that you are just dying to know the meaning behind – drop me a note in the comments. I may or may not tell you….lol.

For the record – Doreen is one of the best people in my life, and I am proud and so very blessed to call her friend. Thankfully, she has a great sense of humor!

See you next week with something really profound! Maybe!

Sue

PS – Doreen – this is your Friday Surprise!

 

Doreen-4Doreen-5Doreen-6

 

To My Kids On Mother’s Day


An oldie but a goodie – originally posted on my old blog, The Back Bedroom.  Worth repeating.  🙂

My babies, back in the day

My babies, back in the day

I know today is supposed to be about me. Or…moms in general. But really, it’s about you. From the moment I first found out I was pregnant with you, it has been about you.

Your Dad and I laid awake that first night, nervously talking about our future. Where we should live. If I should keep my job. Where we wanted you to go to school. Every decision from that moment on was no longer about what was best for us as a couple, but what was best for us as a family.

When you were only a centimeter long, you had already changed what I ate, what I drank and how much I slept. I quit smoking, not for my health, but for yours.

Because of you, we went back to church, worried about food additives, read parenting books, bought life insurance, created a will, bought MORE life insurance, moved to a better neighborhood, bought a bigger car, got rid of the evil cat, put all of our medicine where you couldn’t reach it (until you were about 2 and started climbing), stopped drinking alcohol, put child latches on all of the cupboards and covers on all of the outlets, got Pepper, a hamster, hermit crabs, Milo, Rocky, Midnight and the horrible disgusting rats.

You. Changed. Everything. But especially me.

So many times, you hear in speeches or read in sappy stories about how “My parents made me who I am today”. So seldom, however, do you hear about how children changed their parents, and made them into different people as well.

When you both were little, and whining for the millionth time about something completely ridiculous, I won’t lie and say I may not have wished for you to grow up. That I may not have always appreciated little hands and little voices. I can honestly say though, that this is the only regret I have of being a parent: The regret of knowing that I could have been a better one.

And now you are both grown (or almost so) into amazing, smart, funny, loving, generous beautiful adult souls. You are responsible, contributing members of society, hard working and learning the “cost of toilet paper”, as my own mother used to say when talking about the responsibilities of being an adult. I am thrilled and proud that you grew up exactly as I had hoped – to be determined enough, strong enough, and confident enough to be independent.

But there is more that I hope you have learned, and it is this:

At the end of the day, what matters most is the people you love, the people you come home to each night. It’s not how much money you make or what you do for a living. It’s not how much education you have or who you know in high circles. It’s not the conquering victories or the humiliating defeats. It is your family. Your friends. Your loved ones.

The people who stick with you when you are happy or sad. Angry or bad. Succeeding or failing. Poor or rich. Sick or healthy. Living or dying. The ones who wipe your nose when you are sick. The ones you celebrate birthdays with. The ones you drive to the emergency room at 2am. The ones who hold your hands so you don’t choke someone. The ones you change your plans for. The ones you change your mind for. The ones you love without condition. And they love you back.

When you were little, the best gift your Dad and I tried to give you was our love. And you gave it right back to us, pressed down and overflowing. And that is truly how you changed me and made me who I am today. A mom, who cherishes and loves you, without rules or conditions, thrilled and proud to celebrate you, just for being you, on this Mother’s Day and all the days in between.

May God bless you and keep you all of your days.

Mom

Holes In My Heart


Okay, so I’m back. We are all moved in, and officially back to only owning one house. I was going to use this to post pictures of our new digs and tell you all about the joys of moving, but it will have to wait until next week. First I need to tell you about Jen. Jen is my sister-in-law, and she died from a pulmonary embolism the second night we were in our new house. It has been incredibly sad and such a shock to all of us, that I just couldn’t go about telling you any funny stories when all this sadness is going on inside me and the rest of my family.

When I met Dave in Mrs. Brick’s art class, I only knew I sat by a cute boy that I hoped would ask me out. I had no idea at the time that he came from a family of people who would accept and love me as one of their own. A group of people I am happy and proud to be related to, even if it’s only in marriage. Marriage or birth, they are my family and have been since the day we walked down the aisle. Before that, actually, seeing as Dave and I started dating as infants.

And not just Mom and Dad DeGroot, brother Jay and sister Wendy. But aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends – an entire new tribe. It could easily have been intimidating but I was always made to feel welcome. Jen was Jay’s wife, and has been a part of that welcoming family for the last 16 or so years. I have a hole in my heart now from the place she used to live, that I didn’t even know was occupied by her until she was gone. Now it’s just this emptiness and I want her to come back and fill it again.

I won’t hear her laugh or see her make that funny face when something struck her as off the wall or eat one of her cheesecakes or listen to one of her many stories or hear her tell Madison to stop goofing off and eat her dinner.  I won’t laugh with her over Ursala the Sea Witch or ask her what they are getting Dad for Christmas (he is the hardest person to buy for because he already has everything) or see her driving Madison to McDonald’s.

I will remember Jen as a person who didn’t take crap from anyone. Who loved her family and friends and would have done anything for them. Anything. Who loved to stamp and make handmade gifts. Who loved to go home to the farm and visit her parents and brothers. Who had strength of character and an actual backbone to stand up for what she believed was right. Who laughed often and liked to talk, which is good because I wasn’t always a great conversationalist and she made it easy for me. Someone who was generous – the first time I met her, she was helping us move to our house on Weatherstone – ironically, the one we just sold. Seriously, she comes to meet her new future in-laws on moving day – now that’s a generous heart.

Jen – I will think of you every time I cuddle under the Packer blanket you and Madison made for us, every time I pull out a bracelet to wear from the glass jar with the jelly beans stamped on it, every time I choose a necklace from the flower dish you helped Madison make, and every time I put up my Christmas decorations because so many of them are from you. This Packer season I will be cheering extra loud to make up for you. Please put in a good word for us up there.

I will try to be one of Maddie’s stand-in mom’s, but you know I don’t have a spine. I’ll try not to be the one who let’s her go base jumping or get her tongue pierced or get a tacky tattoo, but I’m not making any guarantees. But I do promise to love her, to be involved as much as she will let me, to let her know she can come to me any time. Thankfully, you have so many people who loved you, and love Madison and Jay, that they will both be surrounded with support. But it won’t be the same. They have holes in their hearts too.

When I see you again, I will throw my arms around you in a big hug. Tell you I love you and how much I missed you. And then I might kick you in the ass for leaving so early. Of course, that might get me booted out of heaven, so I might have to rethink that. Please give Amanda, Nana, Shorty, Aunt Darlene, Grandma and Grandpa DeGroot and Uncle Chuck hugs from us. And save us a spot at the big table.

Love and miss you,

Sue

Roller Coaster…of Love…(Say What?)…(sing it with me!)


Happy 2014!

It’s that time of year again!  The time where we look back on the past and forward into the future.  It’s like being at the highest point on a roller coaster – that pin-dropping moment of silence after a ponderous, rickety climb, where your heart gained momentum faster than the roller coaster car.  And then as the car pauses – you hold your breath and you see your future ahead of you, and you begin praying that your harness holds you firmly in your seat and that you won’t derail on the hairpin curves.

grucoaster

Did I ever tell you I hate roller coasters?  I don’t trust the harness, I don’t trust the course, and I don’t trust the person who built it that insists it’s safe.  This is exactly how I feel about life.  God loves me but I must really test His patience.  I see the course He has set before me, but I am already arguing with Him that the harness He provided is going to give out, hurling me into space.  He knows I’m going to have a death grip on Him, eyes squeezed shut and screaming all the way down that first hill.

These last few weeks have had some unexpected twists and belly droppers and I can’t say I was overly appreciative of the final moments of the 2013 ride.   And now we are back at the top of the coaster and as I look down to the coming journey that will be 2014, I see a lot of question marks and unknowns, and it’s making me a little crazy.  I wish I could see the course ahead of time, to plan for each turn and belly drop.  To be prepared and know exactly how I will handle each situation.  I want the security of the KNOWN, of the quiet, mundane day-to-day living, that stretches no faith nor spirit.   God doesn’t see it that way.  He knows without stretching my faith, I won’t grow.

So God and I are having a talk.  He’s going to keep me secure in my harness, wrapped in his love and strength, and I’m going to try to keep my eyes open and enjoy the ride without barfing up my Slushie or screaming for the ride to stop.  I actually did that once – scream for the ride to stop, not barf up my Slushie – on the Matterhorn at Disneyland.  In my defense, I was only 9, and I was riding with my mom who was also screaming.  Gotta love those mother/daughter bonding moments.

I know I will be a stronger, smarter, wiser version of myself when it all shakes out.  The process is the tough part for me.  But like I said in my Christmas blog – life is precious and it’s important to live in the moment – even the crappy moments.  In a nutshell, that is my main goal for this year.  To embrace every second of joy, anxiety, fear, happiness, sorrow, humor, and love.

Therefore, besides learning to live in the moment, one day at a time, on the things of 2014 that I won’t be able to control, here is a list of the more mundane things I have a little more control over and hope to accomplish.

  • Mental Survival for this Sunday’s Packers’s/Niners game. I know I am being overly dramatic, but all my fellow Cheeseheads will agree that watching the Green Bay Packers play lately is enough to make you go running to your doctor for a prescription of Xanax.  At least the game will be at L-L-L-Lambeau, and it will be c-c-c-cold!
  • Increase my blog posts to twice a week.  I am planning on keeping Thursday, and then probably adding Monday – hopefully something humorous because Lord knows we need a reason to laugh on Mondays.
  • Pull my pal Joey Christensen on the Titletown Tour in another mTT (My Team Triumph) event – this time cycling.  As you may remember, I was one of his angels in the Bellin last year,and I would like to continue that relationship by doing the Titletown Tour cycling event with him in 2014.
  • As part of my involvement with mTT and hanging out with the Joe-meister – attend, learn and pass with flying colors the American Sign Language class that I signed up for thru St. Norbert College.  Gotta be able to communicate with Joe while I am pedaling him around this summer.  Hopefully I don’t crash when I am turning around to sign to him.
  • Clock 2000 miles on my bike.  No clue how I am going to find time to ride more than I already do with everything else on my plate but I’m darn well going to try.
  • Running the Fox Cities Half Marathon with my bestie, Dawn.  Although this is really her goal, I am along for the ride to provide motivation and encouragement.  Of course, I haven’t ran long distance in over two years, so she may be the one cracking the whip on me instead!

And that’s about it for now.  As a good friend of mine just emailed to me:  It takes less time and energy to pray than to worry.  I am hoping to pray more than worry in 2014, for all of our benefit!

May you all have a blessed new year!  And stay warm!

Sue

tumblr_maao4bKhNi1qhpvj5o1_500

Exploding Oatmeal and Other Hazards


quakerYesterday, my oatmeal exploded in the microwave at work.  I make oatmeal every day and I have to keep an eagle eye on it because Mr. Quaker Oats sometimes gets a bad attitude.  Well, there were other people in the lunch room hogging using the space in front of the microwaves to make their coffee, so I was trying to be courteous and give them some room.  Next thing I know, I see my oatmeal spilling over the top of my bowl.  I leapt forward and grabbed the door, almost bashing my co-worker Lois in the head as I yanked it open, and then stared sadly at the mess.

My first thought was not, “Ew- what a mess” or “Wow, I hope I didn’t kill Lois” but was, “Rats. Now I have less food to eat.”  My second thought was, “I wonder if I can salvage any of the stuff that spilled over” followed by my third thought of, “Gross, Sue.  You might eat a random M&M off the floor but you will not stoop to eating boiled over oatmeal off the bottom of the work microwave”.  For the record, I had to repeat this to myself twice, and thankfully Lois was still in the lunchroom or I may have succumbed to thought #2.  Haha!  Just kidding!  That would be so disgusting!  I would never do that!  (No, really, I might have.  Lois unknowingly saved me, even after I tried to kill her with the microwave door.)

I hate having my food routine disturbed.  It just leaves the door open for those irrational rationalizations, where my brain tries to justify eating 10 cookies to make up for the disruption.   “You poor dear!  You didn’t get a full 1/3 cup of oatmeal today.  Have a pan of brownies.”  I know what you are all thinking.  You are all thinking I should overcook my oatmeal everyday and replace it with cookies because oatmeal is like eating wall paste and good Lord if your going to eat something as bad for you as wall paste you might as well eat cookies.  And if I’m going to eat cookies, bring on the chocolate cake, because even Bill Cosby knows chocolate cake is full of nutrition!

Perhaps you are wondering if I grew up as a starving child in China (“There are starving children in China that go hungry every day!  Eat your wall paste!”) but no.  I grew up in a middle class home and never went to bed hungry – not even as a punishment.  My mom was a wizard in the kitchen and could make a pound of hamburger stretch for all 7 of us, including my Dad and my brother.  No, I’m just a food addict.  No meth or crack for this girl!  But whoa!  Is that a bakery?  I think I’ll stop in and mainline a chocolate donut.

Because I am a food addict, I need to have a strict food plan of no sugar or wheat, and I need to follow it.  I have fallen off the wagon these last three years, and really have no desire to get back on it, even though I know the sugar and flour just keep feeding the beast.  Before this, I went four years without it passing my lips.  I lost 80 pounds.  Gained confidence and moved up in my company.  Ran my first half marathon. Hit the upper 90’s in my health assessment at work.  Felt absolutely fantastic, physically and emotionally.  Except when I felt deprived – like at birthdays when others were celebrating with cake or at Christmas when I passed the cookie tray without taking one of my mom’s cut-outs (my favorite), or on vacation with the Daver or at Easter when I passed the rows and rows and ROWS of unbelievably delicious Robin Eggs and other confections (why do we celebrate religious holidays with so much chocolate?  A fattening mystery…).

So where am I now?  I am somewhere trying to find the balance.  I want to have my cake and eat it too (pun totally intended) but I don’t want to give up my health doing it.  I have gained back some weight, but not all.  I have held on to certain food habits – like lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins – and most certainly my exercise habits have stayed.  I don’t run as much – I would like to have fully functioning knees and hips when I am 80 – but I do bike, swim, inline skate, kayak, walk, hike, snowshoe, and hang out in the gym doing burpees and jump squats and dive bombers (oh my!).  Since regressing back to sugar, I have done another half marathon, ridden 2500 miles on my bike, taken another position in my company, and performed 10 billion burpees.  Yes, you heard me.  10. BILLION. BURPEES.

DrEvil

And you know what?  I think I’m okay with where I am.  Yes, I still struggle.  Yes, I still have food issues.  But at the end of the day, I would rather eat a celebratory piece of birthday cake on my dad’s 82nd birthday.  I would rather go out with the Daver and have pizza and a couple of beers while we talk and laugh about our week.  I would rather bike 100 miles with Kay, eating strawberry shortcake at the rest stops.  Or have dessert with the girls at the end of our night out.  Or eat a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry in Boston even if it means getting blisters because I am stupidly wearing brand new shoes.  Or eating Garrett’s cheesy popcorn while watching my niece run in the Chicago Marathon.  And you know why?  Because life is meant to be lived, and sometimes living involves eating delicious foods that have no nutritional value.

birthday-cake-hd-wallpaper

Some people are blessed with high metabolisms or the ability to eat a single brownie, but I am not one of them.  I am a big-boobed, 49-year-old woman, with stretch marks and jiggle, that loves a good laugh and cake with frosting and sprinkles.  But I just have to believe there is a balance and come hell or high water, I’m going to find it.  And when I do, I will share it with the world.  Meanwhile, I’ll be in the gym –  doing burpees.

What are your food downfalls?  How do you handle feeling food deprived?  Have you found balance in your own food plan and if so, what worked for you?  I love hearing from you and I love your feedback!  Please share in the comments below or on my FB page!

PS – I actually love oatmeal and seriously do eat it every day at work, with two – three hard-boiled eggs.  I like it best with almond milk and blueberries or apples and cinnamon.  Mmmmm!

Friend me here: FACEBOOK

Or here: TWITTER

Or here: INSTAGRAM

For additional reading on body image acceptance, check out these blogs:

August McLaughlin’s Blog

Katrina Anne Willis

Sue

Learning To Move The Bean Bowl


I bought green and wax beans the other day at the farmers market.  They call them wax beans because they are yellow and look waxy I guess.  The term ‘wax’ in reference to food grosses me out, so I prefer green and yellow.  Or better yet, green and gold (Go Pack Go! Yes, I just went there, and yes, I used my entire first paragraph to set up the Packers reference.  This is what happens when you live in the land of cheese).

tumblr_maao4bKhNi1qhpvj5o1_500

I love getting fresh produce from the farmers market but it does require extra work to clean it and make it ready for consumption.  It’s not like buying a bag of Steamers and popping it in the microwave (although I do love Steamers – what an awesome invention).   Fresh food needs to be cleaned and cut and trimmed and peeled.  Kind of a pain, all this eating healthy business.  Some veggies are more of a pain than others but beans are fairly easy in the veggie cleaning line up – just wash and snap off the tops.

My process is to wash them in a colander, spread them on a clean towel, grab a few, snap off the tops and then toss the cleaned bean in a bowl and the top in a pile to the side for the garbage.  Easy peezy, lemon squeezy, right?  Well, I was cleaning my beans after I got home, and I kept accidentally throwing the beans in the garbage pile and the tops in the bean bowl.  What the heck?  After about the 10th time, I realized I had my work area set up wrong.

Green and Gold beans!

Green and Gold beans!

My natural tendency was to grab the beans with my left hand and snap off the tops with my right, so the bean bowl should have been to my left and the garbage pile to the right, and I had it reversed.  This would have taken about 5 seconds to rectify and ended the awkward cross reaching, plus the time-consuming need to stop what I was doing and fish the tops out of the bean bowl.  Not to mention that I was using extra energy just concentrating on my process that could have been used to create a plan for world peace and a new energy resource (HAHA.  Okay, I would have created my grocery list and a plan to clean the bathrooms but still, a better use of my time).  Instead, I stubbornly continued to clean my beans counter intuitively, swearing under my breath every time the tops ended up in the bean bowl.

After going thru 3/4 of my beans, I finally set my ego aside and fixed my workstation.  I finished the rest of my beans lickety split (I like to say that word.  Lickety split.  Or is it lickety spit? Hmmmm….).  I wasted a lot of time and effort fighting my body, but was too prideful to admit my set up was wrong and I was too lazy to expend the energy to change it, even though I used way more energy trying to fight it.  Apparently this thing on my neck really is just a helmet holder.

Door County Century

Helmet holder, but at least I get strawberry shortcake!

Life is like that, isn’t it?  The thought of making a change, even one that will make my life easier, seems like too much trouble and effort, so I keep on trying to control the wrong things.  I read once that a person won’t make a change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.  Pain yes, but pride too.  My ego tells me my process is right and if I could just control myself, all would be well.  This is especially true in my eating habits and in my relationship with God.

I will never be able to eat normal portions if I don’t have a handle on why I am eating in the first place, and I will never be able to grow in my relationship with God if I continue to try to commune with Him according to rules and obligation.  It’s hard to change what I have always done, and the process of making that change seems overwhelming.  But like moving my bean bowl, the initial energy needed to make a change is greater, but is less overall because of the energy saved on the other side of the change.  The sooner the change, the more energy saved.  With all those energy savings, I could qualify for an Energy Star.

Thus starts my quest to move the bean bowls in my life that are causing me to stumble and seeking God for change and direction.  I don’t think it will be easy, but I believe with His help, all things are possible.  One of the biggest changes I see coming is my commitment to writing.  In fact, the very idea is giving me anxiety at this very moment.  But, you know how sometimes you crave something, like maybe a bowl of ice cream or a donut, and you decide not to have it because it’s fattening or whatever, so you eat everything else in your cupboard instead, and then end up eating the ice cream or donut anyway?  That’s what this is like.  I feel like I have spent years eating around my desire to write, thinking I would never be able to make a living at it or be good enough.  Instead I have tried to find satisfaction or direction in other areas, and while I have been successful, I am still wandering around my house opening up cupboards.

I’m scared.  I’m scared of failing, of not being good enough, of dying poor and penniless living out of a cardboard box with nothing but my thermos à la Steve Martin in The Jerk.  But I think I am more scared of not trying it.  Of never knowing.

Steve Martin

I’m picking out a thermos, for you!

How about you?  What are the “bean bowls” in your life that need moving?  I love hearing from you!

Sue